Teachers are being abused by parents and students at an alarming rate and are more likely to be assaulted than the average worker.
An Australian-first study by Monash University has found that educators faced an almost 75 per cent higher risk of being injured from an assault compared to other staff.
The research, which analysed more than 1.5m workers’ compensation claims from around Australia, showed about 4.5 per cent of claims made by educators were assault related, while just 2 per cent of non-educators made the same claim.
But researchers warn that figure could be much higher because “severe underestimates” caused by underreporting mean teachers are also the group least likely to make an injury claim.
Secondary school teachers faced the highest risk of being injured from an assault, making up 24,764 – or 29 per cent – of the 84,915 total educator compensation claims.
Education aides and teachers working in specialist schools made 18,462 claims.
Teachers were also 33 per cent likely to claim for mental health-related issues.
Victoria had the third highest claim rate in the country at 11,154, behind NSW’s 38,715 reports and Queensland’s 13,770 claims.
But the injury claim rate was 41 per cent lower among educators than non-educators.
Student-inflicted violence-related injuries, musculoskeletal pain and psychological distress were the most common types of claims overall.
Teachers are more likely to be assaulted on the job than the average worker, new research reveals.
More than 11,000 compensation claims were made by Victorian teachers.
“The possibility that educators underreport occupational injuries and illnesses makes their elevated rate of claims for mental health and assault all the more striking,” the report said.
The study’s co-author and research fellow at Monash’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Dr Tyler Lane said teachers faced pressure not to report assaults or injuries caused by staffing shortages and viewing a student’s actions as accidental.
“Special educators and education aides face a lot of challenges with the students that are in their care because they have a lot of behavioural and physical needs, and those can sometimes result in injury,” he said.
“If it’s (caused by) a student, they may be somewhat disinclined to report it because they don’t see it as intentional or a student acting out, so we may find that these rates of assault injuries are even higher.”
The Victorian Department of Education’s most recent annual report showed there were 299 injury compensation claims paid to staff in government schools last year.
Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the National Teachers Workforce Action Plan being developed with state counterparts aimed to keep teachers safe and reduce workloads.
“Many are leaving the profession burnt out and worn out,” he said.
“There aren’t many jobs more important than being a teacher and we want them safe at work.”
Three in four Australian teachers have experienced violence from students and parents.
Source: Herald Sun